Now is the perfect time for me to get pregnant.
I’ve been with my partner for almost 12 years, we got married in 2015, we just moved to a new city where he’s got a good job and I work part time. Apart from owning our own house, we are in a good state of affairs at the moment. I’m turning 30 in December. If I haven’t got a bun in the oven in the next six months then when will I? That’s the burning question on everyone’s lips.
OK the truth is, no one actually cares that I haven’t had a baby yet. None of my friends have mentioned it, my parents are silent on the matter and my husband – like me – is more or less certain (never say never, right?) that he doesn’t want kids either. I don’t want a baby. So why do I feel obliged to have one? I can’t stop thinking that I should want one. Am I crazy?
I was brought up as the middle child and only girl in a happy family. Looking back I’m certain I was a normal kid. Nothing unusual happened that I could possibly blame for my strange fear of having babies. I played with dolls, wrapped them up in blankets and soothed their cries. I stroked their shiny little heads and held them tight to keep them warm. As I got older I cut my Barbie’s hair, changed her outfit and sent her off on her first date with Ken in the hope of starting a family in their wooden doll house that resided at the end of my bed. The notion of a family is something I am 100% comfortable with. I love having siblings, I’m close to my parents and I understand the importance of having a loving support network. But for as long as I can remember, whenever anyone asked me about having children I’ve always been confident in my answer. Thanks, but no thanks.
Throughout my life everyone has told me in a very patronising manner that I will change my mind. I’ve never really questioned myself on the subject, it’s always been something I’ve been so certain about. But in the past year or so, I’ve been starting to wonder. Every other female on the planet seems to have this motherly urge bursting out of them but I can’t seem to identify it within myself no matter how hard I try. There’s no denying that my age is playing a part in this ‘pressure’ that I’ve started to put on myself. In fact it’s not even really pressure. I just feel so acutely aware that my body is primed to do this thing, and if I don’t do it soon I might miss my chance. I’m turning 30 at the end of the year and although I’ve always been adamant that I don’t want to have any children, I suppose I always knew I could try if I ever changed my mind. Assuming I’m able to physically have children, then I’ve always known I could do it if my heart desired. When you’re young you forget that there is a bit of a time limit on the task though. You think you have all this time to decide, but I feel like the window is getting smaller. I know there are plenty of women over 30 experiencing happy pregnancies and giving birth to healthy babies but for me, now is the time where I need to start thinking seriously about what I want and planning for the future. What do I really want?
I find as a woman I’m generally expected to do one of two things; have a career or have a baby. Since I’ve concluded quite firmly (kind of) that I don’t want a baby then I should be focusing on my career, right? Well, how about no. If I don’t need a baby to complete me then I certainly don’t need a job to do the same. I’ve spent too many years wasting my life on jobs that drain me to continue down that road. My mental health has suffered so for now, I’m focusing on living a fulfilled and balanced life. In fact, my mental state is another reason why I don’t feel great about having a sprog.
I am so uneducated on the subject that didn’t even know until recently that if I was to get pregnant I would have to stop taking my anti-depressants. This is not something I’m ready to do yet. I tried about a year ago and I failed miserably, so I’m really not in a place to go through that at the same time as having my womb inhabited by a new human being. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve actually read some posts from health professionals advising that us ladies with depression should seriously consider our decision to have a baby. The reason being that we are statistically more likely to suffer further mental health issues during and post pregnancy. I can’t imagine feeling strong enough to put myself in such a vulnerable position. I admire any woman who does – and to be honest mental health issues are so common that it seems unrealistic to give out this advice to everyone – I just don’t feel like I’m quite stable enough yet to take that risk.
So what now? Maybe I’m destined to be the quirky aunt or the weird godmother that every kid needs. Maybe if we get too old to have babies we’ll adopt. Maybe I’ll not be 100% sure until it’s already happened. Maybe I need to worry a little less….